Action Against Hunger to aid over 300,000 Yolanda victims
MANILA, Philippines - More than 300,000 people will receive much-needed aid from Action Against Hunger International, or Action Contre la Faim (ACF), which has been carrying out relief operations in areas severely hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
ACF International is currently operating in Leyte, Panay, and Samar. The humanitarian organization has already conducted early disaster response through live-saving interventions, distributing food, nutrition supplies and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) kits. (READ: WFP: Yolanda survivors need nutritious food)
The total number of target beneficiaries for this initial response phase is 50,139 households, or 349,305 persons, according to Mark Cervantes, ACF International Philippine Mission's technical coordinator. (READ: Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan): Aid, donations from international community)
In Leyte, ACF has covered Tacloban, Ormoc, Dulag, Albuera, Tolosa and Tanauan, and plans to expand to Mayorga, McArthur and Palo later on.
In Panay, the organization has reached out to Iloilo, particularly Estancia and San Dionisio. It is also present in Capiz, mainly in Batad, Concepcion, Pilar and Pontevedra.
“Capiz and Iloilo were selected because these were the badly hit areas in Region VI,” Cervantes said. He explained that majority of the help was centered on Tacloban and parts of Leyte, so ACF also extended its reach to other distant villages.
In Estancia alone, some 5,000 people living in an evacuation camp already received food aid, said Lucile Grosjean, ACF’s communication officer based in Roxas City.
To help communities with sanitation, relief operations also brought in hygiene promoters to teach residents how to clean water and wash their hands, according to advocacy and communications Kristine Calleja.
Reaching isolated villages
ACF is looking to extend response to Eastern Samar and other far-flung communities, where they will select target beneficiary communities based on reports from its rapid assessment team.
High-energy biscuits will be distributed to small and remote mountainous areas. In a press statement released on Thursday, November 28, ACF said it is already working with the Canadian army to bring food aid to remote villages in typhoon-affected areas, especially those located in the mountains of Panay Island.
According to the organization, it will be the first humanitarian agency to reach these isolated populations since the onset of the disaster.
The army is providing a helicopter for the food delivery. “The support of the Canadian army is greatly appreciated as it is allowing us to access communities we would not otherwise be able to reach,” said Grosjean. “The only other alternative would be a 4-day walk to reach these villages.
Despite progress, relief operations also met obstacles along the way. Cervantes said funding was a major challenge during the early stages of the emergency response. (READ: Aid pushes through to PH typhoon survivors)
“Movement of logistics is also facing difficulties because major routes are congested or un-operational,” he said. “The hiring of staff to cover identified areas has also been a bottleneck of the operations.
Grosjean said logistics was also a challenge since there were many islands in the Visayas, adding that some time was lost in just transferring equipment and team members to target areas.
Beneficiary selection is not a difficulty, however. Cervantes said this was because ACF has been coordinating directly with the local government units. Selection was also based on a certain criteria to avoid duplication of efforts.
After the early response through lifesaving interventions, the next phase will be rehabilitation and recovery. Recovery is expected to take about two years, Calleja said. (READ: UN to seek more aid to typhoon displaced) – Karen Liao/Rappler.com